Investigator, 2nd Variant (5e Subclass)

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Not all rogues work against the law. Investigators use their skills to serve the law, often in the employ of nobles or in the pursuit of noble causes. In some cities cabals of investigators work for rulers or bureaucracies, but often an investigator is a free agent who pursues whatever mysteries come across her path. Of course, not all investigators serve the law. Crime lords and guildmasters often have squads of investigators serving their own nefarious purposes.

Do I strike you as a friend or a foe? I'll let you decide.

Professional knowledge[edit]

At level 1, you may replace the thieves' tools proficiency with one other tool proficiency or two languages.


At level 1, you may replace your knowledge of Thieves' Cant with two forms of professional jargon. You can convince members of the chosen professions that you are familiar with their work, as if you had practiced it; unless they have some reason to be suspicious (such as your lack of necessary physical attributes), they will believe you are one of them. You may also use this ability on the general public. Finally, you may deliberately say things that seem like professional jargon to the general public, but have a different meaning, or are obviously joking nonsense, to those knowledgeable in the profession. You may use this to convey a message secretly, as with Thieves' Cant, if the listener makes an intelligence (investigation) check against DC 10.

Creative solutions[edit]

Starting at level 3, when you make an active ability check (that is, one that comes from your action), you may state a creative idea for how to do it. If the GM allows it, you may then use your intelligence modifier instead of the ordinary modifier for that check. If the ordinary modifier is negative, you use both. This is in addition to any advantage the GM would have given you for the idea without this feature. You can use this for only one underlying ability score per long rest, and the number of times depends on the underlying ability score:

Wisdom: Twice intelligence modifier

Dexterity: Intelligence modifier

Strength: Once (using leverage, etc.)

Con or Cha: Once, but if you attempt it and the GM does not allow your idea, subtract your intelligence modifier from the ability check.

Note to GM: You should not feel obliged to allow this in all cases, but should allow it at least slightly more often than you'd grant advantage for a creative idea, to reflect the fact that this character class is particularly good at clever improvisation. Generally speaking, this should follow the "rule of cool": working often enough to be fun for the player, but not so often that it breaks the game.

Detective's Expertise[edit]

At the 3rd level, you gain proficiency in the Investigation skill, and your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check that uses this skill. If you already chose this skill for your Expertise feature, apply this to Insight instead.

Quick mind[edit]

You may use your cunning action to make an investigation check during combat, at will. The first time you do this, apply your proficiency modifier only once (as if you did not have expertise). If you investigate the same subject more than once, do not reroll, but add +1 per additional action, until you reach your full expertise modifier (ie, after a total number of rounds equal to your proficiency modifier plus one).

You may also use your cunning action to take one of the following actions, a number of times per short rest equal to your intelligence modifier:

  • Dodge
  • Help
  • "Help dodge": allow an ally within 10 feet whose dexterity is at least 10 to take the dodge action as a reaction once before the start of your next turn


At level 9, whenever you take the dodge action, you may name one ability score aside from dexterity. You gain advantage on saving throws in the chosen ability as long as you maintain concentration, for up to 1 minute. Outside of combat, this gives you advantage on all saving throws and checks against illusion spells, as long as you are not poisoned, exhausted, or drunk. Illusions you perceive that would not normally allow you a saving throw give you a saving throw at disadvantage to note their illusory nature.


Starting at 13th level, you may make an investigation check against a creature you can observe. The creature rolls to set the DC of this investigation check, as described below. If you succeed, the GM tells you some weakness of this creature. There are two situations where this applies:

Combat investigation: the creature uses their main attack skill as a modifier on the DC roll. If your investigation succeeds, the GM may choose from the following options:

  • Tell: you notice some subtle quirk of their attacks. You gain +2 AC for any attacks from this creature, and the first time you hit them with a sneak attack using this knowledge, they get disadvantage on all melee attacks until next turn.
  • Goals: you can deduce something about their combat plans. You learn something about a special attack or movement ability that they have but which you haven't directly observed. This might also give you some other piece of information that is not otherwise obvious, such as "the creature is trying to move the party away from its young, which are hidden in that direction", "this person expects reinforcements to arrive soon", "this spellcaster has spell X prepared", or "this person knows there is a secret door in that wall".
  • Weakness: your sneak attacks against the creature are critical on an 18 or above. If your sneak attack damages them at all, they have disadvantage on any concentration checks.

Social investigation: the target uses a deception roll to set the DC. This observation takes at least 1d10 rounds minus your intelligence modifier, with a minimum of 1 round. You learn a fact about the target, which you may use to add your intelligence modifier to charisma-based ability checks against them. If you can communicate with an ally without the target's knowledge, you may pass this knowledge of the target's weakness to the ally, and thus the ally may use this ability, using the average (half the sum) of their intelligence modifier and yours. Facts might be something the target feels guilty about or doesn't want others to know; something they particularly value or are a sucker for; some particular interest of theirs; etc.

GM tips: in general, you should try to make this ability both fun and balanced. It's good if you can describe some reason the player could observe the information — such as smudges, scuffs, scars, etc.

Legendary Detective[edit]

At 17th level, you gain advantage on all checks involved in any of the abilities above, and on all saving throws except Constitution. All attempts to deceive you are done with disadvantage. Any creature hit by your sneak attack automatically loses concentration and cannot take reactions until your next turn.

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